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Ten Things of Thankful: Father's Day Edition

As Father's Day is this weekend, I thought it appropriate to focus this week's TToT post on what my dad has taught me through the  years.  I'm thankful that Dad taught me:

1.  To live and let live.  

When my mom decided, when I was 4 years old, to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, my dad supported her right to make that decision.  He also wanted the same decision-making right, and my mom and dad have been happily married for over 50 years:  she, a Mormon, and he, not affiliated with any religion.  I've seen by example that it is possible to disagree on issues and yet be happily best of friends.  

2.  It's OK to not be perfect.  

School came fairly easily for me, and combined with the fact that I studied hard, my grades were good.  When I was in junior high, I brought home my first B on a report card, and I was devastated.  (I know, I know how ridiculous this was!) I thought that I must not have done my best, because if I had only studied harder, I would have gotten an A.  My dad assured me that getting a B was not the end of the world.  If a B didn't bother my dad, who was a teacher by profession, I guess it shouldn't bother me.  

I can't believe I could actually find this report card!

3.  He loves all of us kids equally.  

The way we know this is because he claims to have a favorite.  Whichever one of us is living closest to--but not actually with--my parents, is the favorite child.  We know we each have the potential to be favorite.  


4.  To enjoy folk music.  

From as early as I can remember, Dad has shared his music with me.


Many evenings when I was little, Dad would get out the guitar, and we would sing together:  This Little Light of Mine, The Sow Took the Measles (and She Died in the Spring), I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago, The Titanic, I Ride Old Paint, and many, many more.  

My sister enjoyed music from a young age, too.

5.  To recycle.  

In the early 70's, my dad helped a bunch of his students start a recycling center.  They won the national Keep America Beautiful competition for two consecutive years.  We recycled long before it was convenient to do so.  We bundled our newspapers; sorted our glass; smashed our cans; and even buried our food waste.  

6.  To live your dreams AND 7.  That your dreams do not have to follow popular opinion.  

Dad had a dream to build his own house.  That might not be so unusual, but Dad's dream house was an earth-sheltered, passive-solar- and wood-stove-heated original design.   

The house, as it appeared in the early 80's.

The house, as it appears today.  This is the view looking west.  Looking south, you could just step onto the roof.  We always knew when the goats escaped through the fence, because we'd hear the pitter-patter of hooves on the roof!
  8.  The joy is in the journey.  

No bank was going to finance such an unusual house, so the house was finished as money was available.  When I was in high school, we moved into the dream house.  At the time, we each had one finished bedroom wall.  The bathroom walls were also finished.  Additional walls were made by stapling heavy Kraft paper onto the studs.  We had no internal doors;  Mom hung fabric curtains in the doorways for privacy.  

Our living room, as it appeared for years. 

The roof was up, of course, but the ceiling was not.  One of our favorite stories is the time an inspector came out and asked Dad what kind of insulation he used.  Dad looked up and, reading off the insulation, said, "Looks like R-12."  (Or whatever the R-factor was--I don't remember now.)

Despite the years of living in a construction zone, we were all happy.  Happiness is not dependent upon a finished house; a house is a home when it is filled with love--and ours was. 

The best photo I could find to illustrate the insulation of the house. (R-19 on the walls.)  Apparently we had leftover Kraft paper--at least enough for my brother to make a "welcome back" sign for me when I returned home for Christmas break after my first semester at college.
9.  Nature is to be respected and admired, not feared.  

Every year, Dad would come to my grade school classroom and give a presentation about snakes.  He brought along one or more of our snakes--rubber boas, boa constrictors, reticulated pythons--and allowed the children (and teachers, if they were daring) to touch the non-slimy, scaly skin.  

from a newspaper article by Connie Petty

One special memory is of camping with my sister and my dad.  I believe my dad was getting his master's degree at the time, and he was studying bacteria found in gophers.  (Dad, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.)  Anyway, Dad needed to trap some gophers, so he took my sister and me on a camping trip to central Oregon.  We learned how to identify gopher holes--and Dad even discovered a new bacterium!--but my sister and I also heard coyotes for the first time.  What a thrill that was!  I felt like I was Laura Ingalls Wilder when she heard wolves around her house.  Though we were just in a tent, I knew we were safe.

10.  Jump in with both feet.

Dad's hobbies have changed over the years.  No longer does he have snakes.  No longer does he tie fishing flies professionally.  No longer does he climb mountains.  However, he always has some interest that he is pursuing.  Currently, he is into birdwatching, and photographing the birds.  He does not just "dabble" in his hobbies; he becomes immersed in them.  He reads voraciously about his area of interest, researches his purchases carefully, and spends hours enjoying his pursuits.  He doesn't cross the line into neglect of responsibilities; he just really enjoys life and learning.  

Not the best of photos, but the only one I could find of Dad tying fishing flies.

Happy Father's Day, Dad! 

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Thanks for the great example set by my dad!

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  1. Happy Fathers Day! Your dad sounds like a great guy... I recall he had CABG surgery this year... I hope he is doing well! I love those photos! And where in the world did you get your hands on that old report card?!

    1. He's doing great; thanks for asking. The report card was in a box of photos. I couldn't believe it when I saw that I actually had the report card I wrote about!

  2. Such a beautiful tribute to your father and must say your dad sounds like an absolutely wonderful man and father, too. Happy Father's Day to him and your husband, too :)

  3. Isn't interesting how many of his dreams and ideals are still contemporary today? A man for all seasons.

    1. Definitely ahead of his time in some respects.

  4. Thank you for sharing these precious things you have learned from your father. He seems to be a great person.

    Happy Father's Day.

    Romi @ In the Way Everlasting

    1. Another thing I failed to mention was that he taught me the value and joy of learning of other cultures. He loves to learn about how things are done in other places. He allowed us to host a foreign exchange student from Brazil for a year during my senior year of high school.

  5. A wonderful post. You were a cutie baby. I might be the same as as your parents - I was in college planting trees on the very first Earth Day, April 22, 1970. So wonderful he stayed true to his philosophies in life. It's nice to meet you.

    1. Judging from the photos from your blog, I bet those trees you planted on that first Earth Day are doing great!

  6. Just love the picture of you with the headset on sitting on your Dad's lap. Doesn't get much better than that -- and the house he built it amazing!

    1. I wish I knew what was playing at the time!

  7. Gosh, your Dad sounds just like a wonderfully, through-and-through AWESOME, amazing guy. What a wonderful man to be able to be thankful for :)

    Your grumpy face in the baby photo with the headphones is adorable :D

    1. I used to think he was famous, because wherever we went, former students of his would come up and talk to him. :-)

      I guess maybe some of that folk music was an acquired taste. I wish I knew what song I was listening to at the time!

  8. (am I the only one chuckling about the 'B' being in English Composition? )

    music is a close tie with (the love of) reading as the best gifts for any child.

    ...he sounds like a clark. cool

    1. LOL, although it was English/Communications, so maybe I get half of a pass? (Of course, the purpose of writing should be to communicate, so maybe not.)

      OK, so I'm a product of a clark/roger upbringing. (Mom is definitely a roger, and she thinks so, too.) No wonder.

  9. I'm new to TToT, nice to meet you and learn about you and your dad!

  10. Krist, this is an incredible tribute to a man who sounds like not only a terrific father but an amazing human being! I loved every word of this and what an interesting life you have had. You have learned some very valuable lessons from you dad. I love the house too and especially the part about hearing the goats on the roof. Happy Father's Day to your wonderful dad!

    1. On Christmas Eve, we could pretend they were reindeer!

  11. This is fantastic, Kristi! What a great man your father is! I love how he built his dream house, piece by piece. I love that your mom was willing to put up with that, because not many women would have! And I would also like to point out that your school in Oregon and my school in Kansas City produced the EXACT SAME report cards.

    1. Yes, my mom is a patient woman. She went without kitchen cupboards and counters for many, many years. (I don't remember exactly when the house was completed, but it was after I was married and had children of my own.)

      I hadn't really ever thought about report card companies, but I guess someone has to produce the report cards!

  12. Your dad sounds amazing! I wish I knew him and could see that house. I am so intrigued.
    I'm also super impressed with your parents' marriage. I have a Christian background (and am mostly unaffiliated now), but my husband is Jewish. I know how religious differences can be a challenge in a relationship, but I also know it can still work.

    1. I'll let you know if the house ever opens for tours. ;-)

      Religious differences can be challenging, but relationships can work with understanding from both parties.

  13. May I join the chorus? You've written a beautiful Father's Day card Kristi. You dad sounds like an amazing and interesting man. I'm so happy to hear there were people recycling in the 70's! It's been one of my pet peeves for a long time.
    I love your pictures. I'm a firm believer that a picture is worth a thousand words. Your post today both words and pictures speak volumes.
    Enjoy the rest of this Father's Day weekend:)

    1. Recycling might not have been mainstream in the 70's, but there was certainly a strong take-care-of-the-earth movement then. Smokey Bear taught us to prevent forest fires, but Woodsy Owl gave us the mantra, "Give a hoot, don't pollute." And, if you were older, you would remember this ad campaign:

  14. Clearly, your Dad was an adventurer as well as an educator. This post is a wonderful tribute to him and his life's pursuits! Happy Father's Day to him!

    1. Yes, he definitely lives life to the fullest.

  15. Ah, those are great lessons and values, indeed! Thanks for sharing a bit of your Dad with us!

  16. Your dad seemed like such a wonderful man. Love the photos with him and you as a baby on the guitar! I also love his love for recycling and eco-friendly things. A sustainable home sound incredible to live in!

  17. Happy Father's Day to your dad, Kristi! We, too, moved into our dream house (that my dad designed and built) before it was finished. For about three months, all of us had to sleep in a back room and only one bathroom worked. It sounds now like it'd have been awful but it was amazingly fun. Snakes? Shudder. Sorry, but they really freak me out. It's awesome that he took them to school though!


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